His hands--slender, nervous hands--were turning the dials with
swift, jerky motions. The back of his hatless head was a shiny black
knob, plastered-down hair glistening like patent leather in the light.
His slender, crouched body swayed as he worked, graceful except for
its slight jerkiness. His flashy top-coat trailed on the boarded
Harsh, raucous static coughed abruptly from a loudspeaker, rising
and diminishing as the man turned the dials.
"What's the matter, Slick? Can'tcha get it?" came the coarse, deep
voice of one of the two, a huge, barrel-chested hulk of a man who
seemed almost to fill the cramped little shack. His fedora hat seemed
pygmy-sized over his wide, swart face with its small, glinting eyes,
flattened nose, and wide gash of mouth.
He took a step forward as he spoke, moving with a loping, almost
simian gait, one arm swinging at his side, the other nestled with snug
ease around a blue steel Thompson submachine gun.
"Me," he snarled, "I'm gettin' tired of waitin' around here like
The authoritative command came in a harsh, jerky staccato from the
man at the radio. He turned from the set. The light fell on his face--
olive skinned, its darkly handsome features marred by a livid, zigzag
scar which ran across his left cheek from chin to ear.
"I'll get it any minute now if you keep quiet."
He turned to the third man who was standing immobile as a statue,
a faint wisp of smoke from the cigarette in his lips alone giving him
semblance of movement. Tall, lean, he had an angular face with pale,
"Luke!" he snapped. "You sure you tipped off the others?"
Without moving the man Luke answered: "They'll be around on the
The patent-leather hair of the man called Slick showed again as
once more he bent to the dials. The static continued, grating in the
Then, suddenly, Slick's crouching figure tensed as through the
cloud of that static a voice began to materialize.
Slick turned the dials more. The static diminished, the voice grew
in volume and clarity. A crisp, incisive voice speaking rapidly, with
"--Plane Number One from Chicago, calling Newark Airport--Pat
Bentley, pilot, speaking--Plane Number One--"
Out of the night, out of the dark ether, came that call. And as
the three men in the shack listened with tense interest, there was a
swift answering voice.
"Newark Airport. Go ahead, Bentley."
"We're still over the Pennsylvania, nearing Balesville. Visibility
getting bad up here at fifteen thousand. Been keeping altitude to
cross the Alleghenies and to get best speed, but clouds are too thick.
Don't worry, though. We're smack on the radio beam. Ought to make
Newark in another hour."
Slick rose to his feet. His dark eyes glinted, and there was a
crooked, evil smile on his lips as he looked at his two companions.
"Newark in another hour, eh?" he chortled. "That's what he